Tom Daley boldly sported a rainbow flag pin on the podium when he took home silver at an international swimming competition in Russia.
The out athlete, who married husband and fellow athlete Dustin Lance Black last May, placed second in the mixed 3 meter synchronized dive at the 2018 World Diving Series in Kazan, Russia. Daley and his diving partner, Grace Reid, took the podium together on May 6, the final day of the competition—and Daley proudly donned a rainbow flag pin.
“Representing on the podium!” he shared on his Instagram stories.
The gesture was particularly significant given Russia’s history of anti-gay policies—and homophobic violence: Since last year, the nation’s leaders have cracked down on gay rights, creating a hostile and dangerous environment for many LGBT Russians. Some queer people have been forced to flee the country.
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) May 8, 2018
LGBT people in Chechnya, a southern republic of Russia, have repeatedly spoken out about government officials rounding up gay people and inflicting violence upon them in a deliberate anti-gay purge. After more than a year of reported incidents, there are still no criminal cases or investigations being made into the disturbing claims.
Despite repeated reports of state-initiated violence against LGBT Russians, government officials have stated that the country’s anti-queer laws “aren’t tough enough.”